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Symbolism- To Kill A Mockingbird
Transcript of Symbolism- To Kill A Mockingbird
Walter Cunningham Jr. and Sr.
Mrs. Henry Dubose
What does the mockingbird represents?
Atticus as a Mockingbird
Walter Cunningham Sr. and Jr.
Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose
Thank you for listening!
Jem and Scout create the snowman initially to resemble Mr. Avery, who angers them when he blames them for the sudden snowfall. Because of the lack of snow, they build the snowman with mud and dirt in the inside, and with snow on the outside.
Explain how Boo Radley
is a mockingbird?
The Creation of The Snowman
The Symbolism of The Snowman
The snowman is made out of mud and snow. Mud represents black people and snow represents white people. Harper Lee uses it to show that people-black or white- are all the same. The dark soil and the white snow work together, just as black and white must work in society in order to have a successful co-existence.
"When we had five baskets of earth and two baskets of snow, Jem said we were ready to begin." (Lee 74)
In addition, the snowman represents how things are not always as it seems to be because the snowman is made of mud and covered with snow. Even though the snowman looks like a real one, it is not.
"Jem, I ain't ever heard of a nigger snowman," I said."
"He won't be black long," he groaned" (Lee 74)
Also, the snowman foreshadows events to come in the novel. Since it is made out of mud and dirt in the inside, and it is covered with snow on the outside. It symbolizes how white people controls over black people.
In the trial, Tom Robinson is found guilty even though he is innocent and all the evidence that Atticus is proving is not working. Also, due to racism wins over equality, the jury did not care about Tom and just followed what Maycomb has been following long time ago-white man wins over black man
[Atticus says] "As you grow older, you'll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don't you forget it—whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash." Atticus was speaking so quietly his last word crashed on our ears. I looked up, and his face was vehement. "There's nothing more sickening to me than a low-grade white man who'll take advantage of a Negro's ignorance. Don't fool yourselves—it's all adding up and one of these days we're going to pay the bill for it. I hope it's not in you children's time." (Lee 233)
• Arguably one of the most important symbols
• Also one of the more reoccurring symbols
• Hence the title, To Kill a Mockingbird
• Although does not have a major impact on the plot
• It still is very effective and relates to many of novel’s characters and themes
• In literature, the mockingbird has been known to represent:
• However, in the novel, it is used on many occasions to represent the idea of innocence
• Used today in modern arts, for example, Eminem’s song titled Mockingbird is about Eminem making his children feel safe
• Mockingbird in the song represents protection and security
Where is it Found?
• First found in the novel when Jem and Scout are given air rifles from Uncle Jack Finch for Christmas
• Before the children begin using their gifts, Atticus feels the need to remind them that
“I’d rather you shot at tin cans in the back yard, but I know you’ll go after birds. Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” (98)
• After this Scout seeks clarification from Miss Maudie and she responds by saying
“Your father’s right” (98)
Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” (98)
• It is sinful to kill a creature that only does good things
• Miss Maudie says that mockingbirds “
don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs” instead, they “sing their hearts out for us” (98)
• Proof that mockingbirds are a symbol of innocence.
• In contrast with the blue jay
• Not a sin to kill them since they are considered pests
• Blue jays harm famers’ crops and do not make music for people to enjoy
Tom Robinson as a Mockingbird
• Possibly the most notable mockingbird is Tom Robinson
• In the plot, Tom Robinson, a black man, is charged for raping a white girl named Mayella Ewell
• despite being innocent
• He is an innocent, like the mockingbird, and is eventually killed when trying to escape prison
• Mr. Underwood likens Tom’s death to
“the senseless slaughter of songbirds by hunters and children” (254)
• Another example of a mockingbird is Atticus
• Given task of defending Tom Robinson
• Takes a lot of criticism from the people of Maycomb
• He gives his full honest effort in defending Robinson
• He knows that Robinson is truly innocent
• Does his best to teach his children not to judge others and to look at things from different perspectives
Dill as a Mockingbird
• Dill is a mockingbird in the novel based on his childlike innocence
• He and Scout leave the courtroom as Dill starts crying during Tom Robinson’s cross-examination
• While referring to the way Tom is being treated, Dill says
“It ain’t right, somehow it ain’t right to do ‘em that way. Hasn’t anybody got any business talkin’ like that—it just makes me sick.”
• Mr. Dolphus Raymond is also a mockingbird because, despite what everyone thinks of him for having mixed children and spending most of his time in the company of black people, he turns out to be very gentle and innocent
• Mr. Raymond comforts Dill by offering him some of his drink
• Everyone assumes it is whiskey but it is actually Coca-Cola
• He chooses to be around black people not because of alcohol, but because society’s ways sicken him
Dolphus Raymond as a Mockingbird
Does the Mockingbird Mean Something More Than Obvious in the Book?
• The meaning of the mockingbird also represents Scout maturing throughout the novel
• At first, Scout is clueless as to what it represents
• But towards the end of the novel, Scout disagrees with Atticus and says that they should not charge Boo with murdering Mr. Ewell
• It would
“be sort of like shootin‘ a mockingbird, wouldn’t it?
• Demonstrates that Scout certainly matures throughout the novel
How Effective is the Mockingbird Symbol?
• It allows the reader to understand the good and bad that is coinciding in the novel
• Bob Ewell is bad for trying to take advantage of the Maycomb society’s views on black people, by framing a helpless Tom Robinson
• People like Atticus, Miss Maudie and Judge Taylor try their best to protect the innocent mockingbird that is, Tom Robinson
• Walter Cunningham Jr. and Sr. are both symbols in the story
• Walter Cunningham Jr. is a boy in Scout’s grade one class
• Walter Cunningham Sr. is his father
• Family of farmers
• Part of the lower-class of the Maycomb society
• Hard-working people that have self-pride, self-respect and integrity
• Unlike Bob Ewell who does not work and “spends his relief checks on green whiskey” they are constantly working to survive
• NEVER take anything without being able to pay it back in any way possible
• When Atticus does a service for Mr. Cunningham, Atticus is repaid with goods from the farm rather than with money
• This prompts Atticus to say that Mr. Cunningham “came from a set breed of men”
• A compliment to the Cunninghams’ integrity
What Do the Cunninghams Represent?
• First day of school for Scout, when Walter does not have a lunch with him
• Miss Caroline offers Walter a quarter and says that he can go and eat downtown and pay her back tomorrow
• Walter politely declines Miss Caroline’s offer, surprising her
• Scout then explains that the reason he declines the offer is because “He’s a Cunningham” (26)
• She further states that
“You’re shamin‘ him, Miss Caroline. Walter hasn’t got a quarter at home to bring you, and you can’t use any stovewood.” (28)
• Unfortunately for Scout, her explanation is one of the many things that leads to her getting in trouble on the first day of school
• Although, it also shows the integrity of a young Walter Cunningham as he knows he cannot repay Miss Caroline
• Can be used to show the importance of social status in the Maycomb society
• Scout decides that when school starts again, she is going to invite Walter over for dinner
• However, Aunt Alexandra does not like the idea as she says
“they’re not our kind of folks”
• She then explains
The thing is, you can scrub Walter Cunningham till he shines, you can put him in shoes and a new suit, but he’ll never be like Jem. Besides, there’s a drinking streak in that family a mile wide. Finch women aren’t interested in that sort of people” (237)
• This proves that Aunt Alexandra believes it is not logical for Walter and Scout to become friends because she thinks that the Finch’s have too much social status for them
• Evident when she further says
“Because—he—is—trash, that’s why you can’t play with him. I’ll not have you around him, picking up his habits and learning Lord-knows-what.” (237, 238)
How Effective is the Symbol of Walter Cunningham
Do the Cunninghams Symbolize Something More Than is Obvious in the Book?
• Cunninghams also represent strong family tradition in the Maycomb society
• Scout narrates that Walter Cunningham Sr.
“Could get a WPA job, but his land would go to ruin if he left it, and he was willing to go hungry to keep his land” (27)
• Mr. Cunningham is willing to do almost anything to keep his family tradition
• Reason he symbolizes family tradition that is praised in Maycomb society.
• Another example of the Cunninghams’ strong family tradition is evident when Walter refuses to accept Miss Caroline’s money
• Many children of his age would take the money and buy lunch
• Walter is similar to his father as he knows that he would not be able to pay back Miss Caroline, he does not take the money
• This proves that he understands that a Cunningham does not take anything that they cannot pay for
Walter Cunningham Sr. Symbol
• Walter Cunningham Sr. also represents what happens when someone looks at something from another perspective
• When the mob comes to encounter Atticus, they clearly have harmful intentions
• when Scout arrives on the scene and begins speaking to Mr. Cunningham
• Forces him to see the situation from Atticus’ perspective
• Changes his intentions and the group leaves without doing any harm
• This also reveals why Atticus later says that
“Cunningham’s basically a good man … he just has his blind spots along with the rest of us”
Who is Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose?
An elderly, ill-tempered, racist woman who lives near the Finches. Although Jem believes that Mrs. Dubose is a thoroughly bad woman, Atticus admires her for the courage with which she battles her morphine addiction.
" Jem and I hated her. If she was on the porch when we passed, we would be raked by her wrathful gaze, subjected to ruthless interrogation regarding our behavior, and given a melancholy prediction on what we would amount to when we grew up, which was always nothing."( Lee 108)
What does Mrs. Dubose represent?
"She said she was going to leave this world beholden to nothing and nobody. Jem, when you're sick as she was, it's all right to take anything to make it easier, but it wasn't alright for her. She said she meant to break herself of it before she died and that's what she did.(Lee 120 )
From Jem's encounter with Mrs. Dubose, Jem learns that there is more to people than just what they show on the surface. He also learns the value of self-control. Mrs. Dubose is rude and cantankerous, cruel to the children and of Atticus' defense of Tom Robinson. Jem hates her, and destroys her flowers in retaliation of her treatment of him and his family. When Atticus punishes Jem by making him read to Mrs. Dubose every day for a given period of time, Jem must discipline himself, bite his tongue, and be civil to the old lady. By learning to control his impulses and show kindness even though he may not necessarily feel it, Jem takes a giant step towards adulthood. He also discovers that Mrs. Dubose is in reality a woman of extreme courage, and he comes to respect her determined strength. Mrs. Dubose is battling morphine addiction, and facing the challenge with tremendous bravery and tenacious will power.
The Effectiveness of Mrs. Dubose
Dear Jeremy Atticus Finch,
By the time you are reading this letter, I would have already overcame my addiction of morphine with your help. As you might have already known, Atticus would have sent you to read to me even if you did not cut my precious camellias. You had helped me to lenghten the intervals for when I am supposed to take my pills, and thus achieved my goal. And also with the help of you and your sister, Jean Louis Finch, I was able to die as a non-morphine addict and beholden to nothing, but in much pain and agony. When you grow up, I hope that you will become a gentleman who shows moral courage, just like your father. Lastly, I apologize for being so grouchy and moody due to the side effects from the large morphine consumption. Please accept the candy box which I had your father to pass to you as a thank you for allowing me to die free.
Mrs Henry Lafayette Dubose
Mrs. Dubose symbolizes the grit and determination of a woman, who though aware of the fact that she is going to die soon, wants to do so with all her wits about her. Her addiction to morphine is a negative factor and she attempts to overcome it appreciably.
A Letter From Heaven
“Thought you could kill my Snow-on-the-Mountain, did you? Well, Jessie says the top’s growing back out. Next time you’ll know how to do it right, won’t you? You’ll pull it up by the roots, won’t you?” (Lee 119)
The Symbolism of the Camellias
What the White Camellias means in terms of Nature:
Good luck gift
What does White Camellias means in To Kill A Mockingbird?
Acceptance and Forgiveness
Mrs. Dubose left Jem a Camellia flower, a Snow-On-The-Mountain to be specific, because she wanted him to know that he had earned more respect in her eyes and that she had accepted his apology.
Their friendship would still grow back no matter what Jem did or said. Jem did not realize this and was furious at first, but by the end of the night he understands the situation.
The white camellia, the "Snow-on-the-Mountain" (118), could be a symbol of courage. She built her spirit little by little just as when she was making the camellia.
Arthur "Boo" Radley
Tom Robinson is a symbol of racism in the town of Maycomb
Tom is convicted of a crime he did not commit and because of his skin colour everyone believes he is automatically guilty
He is a hard hardworking and honest man who is wrongly accused
However, he is prove as guilty
In the prison, he decides to escape wherein he is shot 17 times
Killing a mockingbird is a sin because it is does no harm but only gives pleasure; Tom Robinson is much like a mockingbird, he has done nothing wrong, is innocent, but is kindness killed him. Wrongly accused because of his skin colour.
"Scout,"said Atticus, "nigger-lover is just one of those terms that don't mean anything—like snot-nose. It's hard to explain—ignorant, trashy people use it when they think somebody's favoring Negroes over and above themselves. It's slipped into usage with some people like ourselves, when they want a common, ugly term to label somebody."
"You aren't really a nigger-lover, then, are you?"
"I certainly am. I do my best to love everybody... I'm hard put, sometimes—baby, it's never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name. It just shows you how poor that person is, it doesn't hurt you."(Lee 107-109)
The Symbolism of Tom Robinson
The Symbolism of Arthur "Boo" Radley
The children’s changing attitude toward Boo Radley is an important measurement of their development from innocence toward a grown-up moral perspective
Boo is just a childhood superstition
Boo, an intelligent child ruined by a cruel father, is one of the book’s most important mockingbirds
He is also an important symbol of the good that exists within people
The purity of his heart rules his interaction with the children
Saving Jem and Scout from Bob Ewell, Boo proves the ultimate symbol of good.
One incident as a child deciding the rest of his life was unfair. The actions of Boo towards jem and scout shows the good and innocence of Boo Radley, Boo did not deserve to be quarantined within his home
"An' they chased him 'n' never could catch him 'cause they didn't know what he looked like, an' Atticus, when they finally saw him, why he hadn't done any of those things... Atticus, he was real nice...." His hands were under my chin, pulling up the cover, tucking it around me.
"Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them."(31.55)
Tom Robinson and Boo Radley are very similar in the fact that both of them are judged on their appearance where as they aren't given a chance to show their true selves and innocence. Tom is a black man and because of the circumstances he is considered guilty of a crime he did not commit. Boo Radley was influenced and controlled by his father and was feared because people are scared of what they do not know or understand.